Many Mouthy Money readers have never considered seeking professional financial advice – but is this because advisers are failing to reach out to the public? We asked mortgage adviser DANNY MATTHEWS to tell us how financial advisers could get better at communicating…with you.
While tracking the Bank of England base rate or the growth of that fund you’ve been selling, advisers in financial services have missed the evolution of the most important part of their business – communication.
The recent report on sponsorships from financial services PR company MRM, “The Death of The Chairman’s Whim” – shows that advisers are spending minimal amounts on social media and sponsorship opportunities. And despite seeing results from other firms, they are still reluctant to make the shift to the communication methods of 2016.
I initially thought around three years ago when I started to pay more attention to social and online activity in financial services that it was just misconception, but since the rise of ‘fintech‘, smart banks and Bitcoin I thought the penny would have dropped by now (pun intended).
Many financial advisers are completely switched off to the real world and have been running their businesses every day within their own four walls.
In an event hosted in Cheltenham earlier this week there were advisers who had never even heard the phrase “Robo-Advice”, which simply tells me they are completely switched off to the real world and have been running their business every day within their own four walls without consideration for their clients or prospects needs.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” – Albert Einstein
When I left school I had a few jobs in retail, one was for an alternative fashion company in Coventry where I grew up and although I didn’t realise it at the time I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour.
How is it that any person, from any walk of life can have the same shopping behaviour as another and all of their actions in doing so are completely unconscious? I later learned that these were the things all great retailers know and use – there I was, thinking I was onto something.
While I was supposed to be doing something else, I would stand at the back of the shop and watch people walk in and where I should have been thinking about what they were buying, I was more interested in how they came to the decision.
I wanted to know why they all went to the right hand side of the store as they walked in? Why were they bypassing the jeans, go to the T-shirts and then zig zag their way through rails and whether they were influenced by the structure of the shop or the music or the people or the journey.
Since the peak of online shopping and giants like eBay and Amazon, with technology we are able to know what people are buying, why they are buying it and if they aren’t buying it, at what point in the customer journey they made that decision.
So now after 10 years in financial services with the rise of fintech and the ever-changing world of social media and advertising, we are seeing the same patterns of behaviour but by a different means.
Some firms believe they have a state-of-the-art website which is not even viewable on a smart phone!
It seems that financial advisers can see the benefits of using social media and online marketing in their business but very few are using it to their advantage.
I see huge opportunities missed every day with firms who don’t understand how their customers want to be communicated with, or worse – they don’t care.
I get flattering comments about my own website all the time because it doesn’t look like a mortgage adviser’s website, but on the other side of the coin some firms believe they have a state-of-the-art website which is not even viewable on a smart phone or mobile device and they are on Twitter or Facebook but only “to have a presence”.
Luckily there is a majority who are aware of the threats of ‘Robo-advice’ but believe that their face-to-face business will never die, while forgetting the very concept of the phrase ‘Robo-advice’. People will always want a memorable and personal experience, but the way we connect with them has changed forever.
“Just like the newspaper, telephone and TV this is evolution and there is nothing you or I can do about it, with no apologies”.
Before expanding into mortgages I had an insurance brokers specialising in Private Medical Insurance and protection where, apart from referrals the business ran day to day on bought leads from data suppliers.
I own the ‘asset’, the ‘www-dot’ and the ‘@’ which will sustain my business into the future.
After the supplier went into administration the business quickly started falling and I vowed never to rely on a third party to build my business again and I haven’t bought a lead from a supplier since. I now own the asset which brings me business.
I have my website, blog, podcast and all of the distribution channels waiting for me to start building relationships in Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Snapchat. If your misconceptions were reality and all of the distribution channels disappeared – I still have the ‘asset’, the ‘www-dot’ and the ‘@’ which would sustain my business into the future.
Advisers: the connection and the romance to be a physical face-to-face business need to be given some serious thought. You can see the pace at which the world is changing and you know that by listening to your audience and your clients you can grow your business.
You now need to do it in the places they like to have that conversation.